Social Network or Sanction? Web 2.0 Technology, Trade Sanctions, and Democratic Participation

September 11, 2009 • 1:30 – 3:30 pm EDT

Recent events in Iran and China have demonstrated the potential of new social networking technology to help effect political change.  Indeed, many overstate the influence of Web 2.0 technology on political systems, but it is still important to consider.

Discussion subjects include:

  • The tensions that exist between the Department of State and the Department of Treasury – as the former would like to keep these services available and the latter would like to prevent some of these technologies from operating in countries like Iran, China, and Cuba, where do U.S. interests lie?
  • What are the costs and benefits of the proliferation of social networking technology?
  • What lessons can be gleaned from recent events in Iran and China?


  • Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Philip Peters, Vice President, Lexington Institute
  • William Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council (Moderator)
  • Ethan Zuckerman, Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School
James Andrew Lewis
Senior Vice President; Pritzker Chair; and Director, Strategic Technologies Program